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Sheldrake corners Nick Park and asks lots of questions about WALLACE & GROMIT! And Nick doesn't runaway!

Hey folks, Harry here with one of the great ones. Nick Park - a god of character animation and storytelling. He's a bleeding cinematic genius with a love for clay. We're going to be getting a WALLACE & GROMIT feature film soon - and I'm jealous as hell that Sheldrake got a chance to talk with him. This is one of my most anticipated films of the year.

Sheldrake here in New York City at Lincoln Center. Dreamworks pulled out all stops today getting us into the world of animation as they do it. Jeff Katzenberg was up on stage at Alice Tully Hall, guiding us through the stuff they’re doing. We got a good look at the new Wallace and Gromit movie and later I ran into Nick Park, the director of all the Wallace and Gromit films as well as CHICKEN RUN.

Nick is the coolest guy. Very low key, endless enthusiasm and intense focus. The opposite of Sam Fell, who’s full of crazy anarchic energy…but we’ll get to him shortly. Here’s Nick and me chatting a wee bit:

SHELDRAKE: We LOVE Wallace and Gromit. Especially WRONG TROUSERS and A CLOSE SHAVE, it’s a beautiful little Hitchcock film done in stop action. Hitchcock’s a HUGE influence on you.

NICK: Yeah, I love Hitchcock movies…

SHELDRAKE: You get the TONE…

NICK: Yeah, not so much specific things, it’s more of a feel, of movies I remember from matinees and on TV.

SHELDRAKE: Hitchcock is one of the most difficult directors to get the feel of…but you do it.

NICK: Quite often people list the references in the movies, and usually I haven’t even seen the movies that they’re referencing.

SHELDRAKE: So is Gromit EVER going to speak?

NICK: Apparently he was dubbed in Finland. We had to get them to take it off. He speaks with his eyes, with his eyebrows. He doesn’t seem to need to speak.

SHELDRAKE: I love the variations on the theme you do…for instance, the waking up in the morning…

NICK: Yeah we wanted a sense of continuity between the short movies, but we wanted to show something new each time. The click we saw today—music’s not finished, needs a bit of editing…

SHELDRAKE: Well, yeah, I guess, but it already looks great: and in this we have Gromit being noodged awake by a finger poking up under the bed, set in motion by a great Rube Goldberg device…powered, of course, by the morning kettle.

NICK: So we continue with the theme, yes.

SHELDRAKE Now in the new movie, CURSE OF THE WERE-RABBIT, the boys set up a special agency to pursue pests. Garden pests. Rabbits, f’rinstance.

NICK: They’ve got this new business called Anti-pesto – there’s a lot more characters in this movie, and a lot of them are, really, typical horror movie characters. We looked at a lot of Universal pictures, and Hammer Studios pictures…

NICK: only the best influences need apply.

NICK: The Werewolf movies…

SHELDRAKE: I saw House of Wax last night…the new one.

NICK: Oh, how was it.

SHELDRAKE: Pretty stupendous, really. Surprisingly. The House of Wax IS a wax house. Oh! Oh! Wait! Idea!

NICK: Yes?

SHELDRAKE: The next Wallace and Gromit movie! Obviously! House of CLAY!

NICK: (backing away) Uhh..yes…sure…

SHELDRAKE: Wait..where are you going? Let’s do a deal!

NICK: Anyway…I’m codirecting this movie with Steve Box. He animated the Penguin in CLOSE SHAVE.

SHELDRAKE: One of my favorites…

NICK: So, anyway, here we’re going this horror movie, and usually those are about, you know, eating little kids…eating people…

SHELDRAKE: But this is about vegetable gardens being destroyed…

NICK: Yes, it’s a vegetarian horror movie.

SHELDRAKE: Lisa Simpson alert! You take it down a notch.

NICK: All the characters are growing vegetables for the upcoming vegetable show…and you know, bunnies abound, and Wallace and Gromit are hired to catch all the bunnies…and then this terrible rabbit-beast appears and ravages… and W&G are hired--like Ghostbusters, Batman, Starsky and Hutch…it’s all those movies. They have this little van. It’s the most uncool van you could POSSIBLY drive…it’s an Austin A35, which is probably not known outside the UK. It is so uncool. I’ve actually got one myself.

SHELDRAKE: Well that’s the North England thing.

NICK: Thought we work in Bristol about a hundred miles from London – it’s become the center of stop action in England.

SHELDRAKE: We also saw a little bit today about FLUSHED AWAY…




Readers Talkback
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  • May 6, 2005, 7:37 a.m. CST

    At least it's not a FANBOY review.

    by johnnyfartpants

  • May 6, 2005, 7:46 a.m. CST

    Very poor interview

    by I'mSpartacus

    Still.... the Wallace and Gromit movie will rule. A close Shave was on tv just the other day there... Honestly, I'd forgotten just how much of an absolute work of genius it is.

  • May 6, 2005, 8:12 a.m. CST

    I'm sooooo glad I read that.

    by Groggy

    Yes indeedy. Love Aardman but this was snoooze. . .

  • May 6, 2005, 8:23 a.m. CST

    House of Clay?

    by Shan

    I liked that one. Heh heh.

  • May 6, 2005, 9:09 a.m. CST

    I was eating cheese and crackers when I read that...

    by Jugs


  • May 6, 2005, 9:17 a.m. CST

    "He animated the Penguin in CLOSE SHAVE"

    by Smerph

    Must have been quite a short gig. The penguin was in "The Wrong Trousers".

  • May 6, 2005, 9:17 a.m. CST

    Can't Wait

    by Kentucky Colonel

    Nick Park is tied with Brad Bird as the best two guys in animation since Mel Blanc's voicework. I am giddy with anticipation for this...2005 is shaping up to be a high water mark for motion pictures. AMC Hoffman 22 is going to get rich off my ass this summer!

  • May 6, 2005, 9:31 a.m. CST


    by grendelson138

    Mel Gibson will be in this film too!! He'll be the the voice of a claymation Jesus that shows up drenched in blood and dies for the huge, ravaging bunny's sins. Then Jesus will commence to bombing abortion clinics and living in the woods of North Carolina. This movie's gonna be a blast!! Literally!!!

  • May 6, 2005, 9:35 a.m. CST

    There are a lot of jerks online today.

    by Darth Kong

    You heard me.

  • May 6, 2005, 9:53 a.m. CST

    Cracking toast, Gromit!

    by Mockingbird Girl

    I cannot *wait* for this film! It is way, waaaaaaaay above REVENGE OF THE SITH on *my* list!

  • May 6, 2005, 10:33 a.m. CST


    by tiara queasly

    Can't wait for Wallace and Gromit, but doesn't it remind anyone else of the Bunnicula books by James Howe?

  • May 6, 2005, 10:38 a.m. CST

    "WALLACE AND GROMIT is #4 on my list of movies to see this year,

    by Stan the Bat

    I question your priorities. Wallace and Gromit and Howl's Moving Castle. And if I get to a theater a third time this year (how many of you guys have kids, anyway?) it'll probably be for Fantastic Four, which will probably be bad, but is at least a movie I'd have wanted to see if it had turned out good.

  • May 6, 2005, 11:18 a.m. CST

    worst interview ever.

    by team america

  • May 6, 2005, 12:25 p.m. CST

    run away, not runaway

    by indiephantom


  • May 6, 2005, 1:02 p.m. CST

    Those British are so understated ...

    by eraser_x

    I love the way Nick Park says, essentially, <shut up with your stupid Hitchcock crap already>, in this euphemistic way: "Quite often people list the references in the movies, and usually I haven

  • May 6, 2005, 1:14 p.m. CST

    i am in love with it all

    by Krangelus

    a little bit too

  • May 6, 2005, 1:44 p.m. CST

    I think I would have run away

    by aikimoe

    Nick Park is a very patient person to have withstood the interview. I think Sheldrake should read Terry Gross's book or do some other kind of homework before he attempts another interview.

  • May 6, 2005, 7:29 p.m. CST

    Uncomfortable to read

    by eg4190

    I could practically feel Nick Park's awkwardness at being cornered by this lunatic. Some "interview," seeing as how this hack keeps interrupting Mr. Park with creepy sweaty fanboy worship. Reminds me of that SNL bit from 10 years ago where Chris Farley interviewed Paul McCartney.

  • May 6, 2005, 8:38 p.m. CST

    My kidneys are quivering in anticipation!

    by 8 of 12

    But really, did they need to put 'Potter 4' on his back? I would have thought that it was quite clear what the poster was for.

  • May 6, 2005, 8:39 p.m. CST

    Ha, ha, Jeez I'm a git!

    by 8 of 12

    Nice one there, eight. First post on aintitcool and you bloody post the wrong comment in the wrong thread. Move along, people, nothing to see here!

  • Oct. 29, 2005, 11:46 a.m. CST

    I don&#39;t think it&#39;s real...

    by punkyfish

    Nick Park doesn&#39;t sound like Nick Park. Are you sure this isn&#39;t fabricated? I&#39;ve just watched an interview on ITV about the new series of Creature Comforts, and the two voices don&#39;t match up.